The Family Legacy


It has stood on this piece of ground since 1923. Built by Owen and Barbara Flynn as a summer camping cabin where Owen, suffering from tuberculous, could rest in the sun. It was one room and a deck overlooking the canyon and the South Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River.
They leased the land from the United States Government for a term of 99 years. Owen passed away but Barbara came up for many summers after that, always bringing her granddaughters. One of them was my mother, Barbara. But Barbara Flynn eventually sold the lease.
In 1955, on a day trip to see the cabin my father discovered that the lease was for sale. And the cabin returned to the family with the promise that the lease would always belong to a descendant of Barbara Flynn.
After the loss of our parents, my brothers and I shared the lease. Each of us had spent long hours raking leaves, fishing, swimming, hiking, reading, playing cards and singing around campfires in the Sequoia National Forest and the little community of Camp Nelson where the cabin was nestled.
Our children were raised on the dirt and pine needles that were the grounds of Tres Pinos. They learned to fish. They learned to use an antique toaster that required the turning of your bread and a careful eye to avoid “black bread”. They drank the soda water and learned to make ‘lemon fizz’ out of the foul tasting stuff. They ate soda pancakes that fried high and fluffy out of an old electric frying pan.
They learned to start the fire in the old woodburning cook stove. They learned how to slide just so down the slide at the swimming hole. They learned to light a kerosene lamp.
They learned about their family.
Our brother’s ashes are scattered there.
And now, some of those children have their own children that are learning the stories of Barbara Flynn and the legacy of the cabin.
My brother and I have a wonderful opportunity to teach all of the family about the history of our little cabin. The people it touched. The people that touched it and brought a little of themselves to this place.
We are especially cognizant of this opportunity as the cabin in threatened by fire. The Sequoia Complex Fire started many miles away in remote canyons of the High Sierras. It was started by lightening. Everyone thought it would stay there. We thought we were just fine.
And then the winds shifted. They became gale force winds blowing the fire up and down canyon walls and steep granite cliffs. It spotted up to three miles ahead of itself. It roared and flew in ways that were new to firefighters. In two days it covered over 16,000 acres per day.
And we thought we were safe.
And the wind changed and it headed for Camp Nelson. Friends who lived there removed the only things of importance that were there–the family photo albums and the oil portrait of Barbara Flynn.
Tonight we were told that no structures in Camp Nelson had been damaged. In the middle of the relief that we felt there was a nagging suspicion that Barbara Flynn and our brother Daniel had a lot to do with keeping that fire at bay.
So, I will be telling stories. To you, dear readers and to the youngest of our family.
We have a legacy.
It is called Tres Pinos.

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11 comments

  1. From the news down here in Australia, the raging infernos have looked dreadful Gael…. I’m so pleased to hear from you, and that you are safe and well. I enjoyed reading your wonderful family story and the tradition about ‘Tres Pinos’…. I’m hoping the worst of the situation has eased off for you, and everyone involved… ((Hugs)) and remain safe..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so pleased that the family legacy has been preserved, and that you will have the chance to pass the history to future generations. Stay safe, Gael.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post and so very happy your beloved cabin and all of it’s stories and treasures are safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart breaks for all those who are not so fortunate. As you know, we lived through wildfires that ringed our city and caused the evacuation of the entire population. We didn’t think the fire would be a problem. We were wrong. Many people lost their homes, so I really empathize with all Americans currently enduring the stress and worry and send up prayers for them. I know how stressful it was for us, but to have to go through this, in the midst of a pandemic, will take extraordinary courage and strength.

    I love your story about the cabin and family legacy. I am so glad it is safe. You are most blessed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Ivor. My absence from the blogging world has left a few friends in the dark. I do apologize. I have been thinking about your for weeks and glad that you still have me on your watch list! I hope all is well with you!

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  6. Carol, it has been an emotional rollercoaster. Lots of anxiety and fear–fires, viruses, and politics. As many have said–2020 can go to hell. Wait. This is hell!!!
    Thanks for reading!

    Like

  7. Thank you. We check in with the firefighters twice a day on their Facebook page to see if we are still there. So far, so good.

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  8. Clive, it is good to hear from you. Our newest family member is a charming little girl. I can’t wait until it is safe enough to actually meet her.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So much damage and turmoil in our mountains!! So very sad and scary! I’m so happy your cabin and Camp Nelson in general ‘made it!’ So much history there and as you said, so many stories to share with others. Thinking of you Gizzy and always sending hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope that moment doesn’t take too long, Gael. Something good to look forward to in the midst of the current doom and gloom in the news.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s been a tough year, tougher for some than for others…hang in there and stay safe!

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